The Third Chapter of Life

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy;
for what we leave behind us is part of ourselves;
we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
~Anatole France

Frequently the inspiration for what I write comes from a particular word on phrase that swims around in the sea of my consciousness.
‘Chapter Three’ kept floating to the surface of tangible awareness and so it became the focus for a bit of research and led me to ‘The Third Chapter’, a book by sociologist, Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot.

Ten thousand baby boomers turn sixty each day. A newly identified developmental stage, the ‘third chapter’, focuses specifically on the years from 50 to 75. Recognizing that this cultural change can result in a deeper, richer understanding of the aging process, the author notes that society often offers a murky view of this phase, unsure how to view a population that is “neither young nor old.”

“We must develop a compelling vision of later life:
one that does not assume a trajectory of decline
after fifty, but one that recognizes it as a time
of change, growth, and new learning; a time when
our courage gives us hope.” from The Third Chapter

Challenging the idea that people over fifty enter a period of diminishing opportunities, Dr. Lawrence-Lightfoot brings a rejuvenating new perspective to these debates. As people move from one developmental stage to the next, they are likely to experience the twin emotions of loss and liberation, despair and hope, pessimism and optimism. It is difficult to let go of the familiar, the routine, the proven, the daily rituals; so hard to relinquish your solidity, your expertise, your status and station and take the risk of embracing the new, the unproven, and the unfamiliar.

This requires the willingness to take risks, experience vulnerability and uncertainty, learn from experimentation and failure, seek guidance and counsel from younger generations and develop new relationships of support and intimacy.

This book includes and shares the insights of courageous souls from all walks of life who redefined “work,” reinvented themselves, and tapped their emotional resources in creative new ways. The result is a revolutionary yet realistic challenge to all who are living in the Third Chapter, providing a gateway to liberation and greater meaning as each day unfolds.

In Biblical understanding, the elderly are to be venerated and identified with wisdom and closeness to God. Indeed the word ‘elder’ and ‘overseer’ are
used interchangeably.

“Let the elders that rule well be counted
worthy of double honour,
especially they who labour in the word and doctrine..”
1 Timothy 5:17

Here’s to a creative and fulfilling Chapter Three for all of us who have turned that page!

~*~
Becky and Jim Gabriel

Since 1980, Jim and Becky Gabriel have helped multiple numbers
of patients in Georgia and Sarasota and graduated a thousand
massage therapists from ASHA, the Academy of Somatic Healing Arts,
their Atlanta massage school.Their mission is to provide innovative, effective health care services,
educational materials and classes as well as holistic health and wellness
products for the entire community. They may be contacted via:
The Gabriel Center for Massage Therapy

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